How to Determine Who is at Fault in an Auto Accident


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After an auto accident, the first thing we tend to do is figure out which driver was at fault. After that comes the usual: license, photos of the damage, calling the insurance. But how exactly do you determine the driver at fault? This driver, or rather their insurance, will be the one in charge of compensating the other for damage done to their vehicle, lost wages, and any medical costs as a result of personal injury.

The two parties will hopefully agree on which driver was driving recklessly or carelessly before leaving the scene. If the two drivers cannot come to an agreement, there are a few things that you can look out for that will lead you to the answer.

Call The Police

Immediately after the accident, the police will be called to the scene, as they will be the ones filing the report. Once arriving, the officers in charge will interview both drivers, any passengers, and if there were any witnesses of the accident, they will be interviewed as well. Witnesses are often the best source of unbiased information, so they police try to get as many statements as possible. The officers will use the statements that they gathered to determine how the accident actually played out.

Even though the police are the ones that submit the legal report, they rarely submit an at-fault driver. That part is left to the insurance companies. In certain cases, police officers may give either, or both, drivers a traffic violation ticket in relation to the accident. That citation could potentially be used as evidence when determining who the at-fault driver is

In a previous article, we explained why some people chose not to report a minor vehicle accident, despite the legal requirement. Click here to find out more about reporting car accidents.

Gathering Your Own Evidence

Both your insurance company and the company of the other driver will begin gathering evidence of the incident, including the official police report. Taking pictures of the accident before any part of the scene has changed will be helpful to your case. The Law Offices of D Chadwick Calvert recommend taking photos of the damage done to your car, damage done to the other car, the other driver’s license plate, and photos of the entire scene in multiple angles. The drivers may also ask for their own statements from witnesses and the witness’s contact information.

Don’t Give Yourself Away

As many of you may have heard, never admit your fault at the scene of an accident, even if you’re apologetic by nature. Even saying, “I’m sorry,” can be considered you admitting your own fault in the accident. By recording the aftermath of the accident on your phone, you can also provide your insurance with proof of the other driver confessing.

Determining the at-fault driver is essentially the process of piecing together exactly how the accident occurred. Because of this, documentation is key. The more accurate, unbiased, and reliable information that you can provide, the better. If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, getting the right legal representation can make or break your case. For an attorney that you can trust, call the Law Offices of D. Chadwick Calvert at (303) 740-7040 today!